Wonderful West Sweden Our Guide to Green Gothenburg
In the 2021 Global Destination Sustainability Index, Gothenburg was voted the lead destination of 70 cities for the fifth year running. Lonely Planet also recognised Gothenburg as the Best Sustainable City Stay 2021, through its consistency in aiming to become fossil fuel free by 2030.
From touchdown in Landvetter Airport, you're entering a city that implements environmental goals and monitors their progress.
For those eager to delve into how Gothenburg's green solutions are revealed as you move around the city, we explore conscious tourism, from the grounding values of fika and lagom, to sustainable stays, getting around, to eco eats and friendly fashion.
Here's our guide to green Gothenburg, a portal into a picturesque pocket of West Sweden.
GETTING AROUND GOTHENBURG
Fly into the Green City and discover its sustainable commitment from touchdown.
Landvetter Airport has achieved the highest level of certification in the Global Airport Carbon Accreditation programme, essentially meaning that it is 100% carbon neutral with respect to its own operation-generated carbon emissions.
Most of the public transport including trams and buses run on renewable energy, and Västtrafik, responsible for public transport, have added to their fleet of ferries, gaining a growing number of electric ferries that operate around the city's waters. Following in the footsteps of Norway's emissions-free catamaran, Brim Explorer, these electric ferries will eradicate pollution and sealife disturbance for passengers exploring the archipelago's breathtaking islands scattered across the sea.
E-Bikes provided by Styr och Ställ or Voi’s E-scooters are dotted all over Gothenburg, and as Sweden's second-largest city, electric bikes are a great way to tour the sprawling metropolis sustainably, from the bustling centre to Änggårdsbergen nature reserve.
SUSTAINABLE STAYS IN SWEDEN'S GREEN CITY
A huge 95 percent of Gothenburg’s hotels are environmentally certified and include third-party certification such as the Green Key and Nordic Swan ecolabel. To obtain the eco label, hotels must meet a strict criteria covering energy efficiency, waste management, building materials, fuels and food.
Proud owner of the Nordic Swan Eco Label, Hotel Eggers is one of Gothenburg’s oldest hotels. Powered solely by its own wind turbine, and offering mostly meat-free dishes on the menu, guests here can even charge electric cars! Located in a building dating back to the 1820’s Hotel Eggers is a perfect example of how wonderful places to stay can adapt and move with modern and green innovations whilst retaining charm and character.
Staying in small family-run accommodations like Kajkanten and Isbolaget out in the archipelago enable these small businesses to grow and thrive. Our friends in the north that run the stays are dedicated to maintaining the natural landscape in which they grew up in, which is why many of the islands out in the archipelago remain car-free. Life out here is about what's needed rather than wanted. This is reflected in the fresh produce provided for breakfast and dinner, to the minimal calming interiors of the room, that contain eco-friendly bathroom products and are built using natural, upcycled materials.
New in 2021, Human was created by Swedish chef of the year winner Martin Moses. The restaurant focuses on sustainably sourced seasonal fine dining with a contemporary twist. Vegetarian and vegan options are available, as well as there being a carefully curated drinks list to compliment every aspect of this sense-enlivening experience.
With ‘thought behind every bite’, the menu at Natur changes with the season. Genuine personality flows through this family run restaurant, which can be found in the upmarket Lorensberg area of central Gothenburg. Organic, earthy tones filter into the food and the well-stocked bar serves everything from sparkling wines to micro-brewed beers. When the summer sun is shining, the outside terrace is perfect for those who wish to dine alfresco.
One of two restaurants on Vrångö island out in the archipelago, Fiskeboa runs the way all restaurants should, cooking what is caught fresh from the water. No over fishing, locally sourced and cooked to perfection, Fiskeboa is the ideal place to wind down and watch the sunset over the archipelago. Charming historic fishing equipment adorns this deliciously uncomplicated restaurant.
With a focus on fresh, simple and rustic cooking, Isbolget Restaurant produces a small but mighty menu with Swedish delights and fresh fish to burgers. With a wide ranging natural wine list, the space offers a glazed terrace on the edge of the water and a spacious interior adorned with charming historical fishing décor and natural wood.
With a fabulous central location in the city, the world’s first climate-positive footwear brand, Icebug is a must for active travellers! Since 2020, they have offset all carbon emissions caused in production by 200%. From material sourcing to transport, Icebug are transparent about the progress on their goals.
A few streets over from Icebug, the iconic Nudie Jeans store stands. Established in Gothenburg during the early 2000's, Nudie Jeans are created ethically and to last. Made with 100% organic cotton denim, every pair comes with a lifetime promise of free repairs, eventually recycling worn out pairs whilst also reselling pairs that are returned to them.
Nestled in the historic Haga District, Thrive house quality vegan garments using Global Organic Textile Standard certified materials. Each carefully curated collection is small scale, sustainable and free from toxic dye and chemicals.
Out on the island of Donsö in the Popsicle Cafe, this knitwear brand by a mother and her daughters produces a handknitted collection using traditional methods with a fresh take on sustainability. Emphasising slow fashion, the production process provides women the opportunity to gain financial independence whilst working with ethically sourced, natural materials.
Located in the heart of the Haga District, Fåfängans Antik is filled with quirky and intriguing paraphernalia, prolonging the lives of much-loved items of the past and bringing them into the modern movement lead by lovers of historic, weird and wonderful interiors.
CULTURE, FIKA & LAGOM
Integral to the culture of the city and beyond, life here is about Lagom and Fika.
‘Lagom’ translating to ‘moderate’, it centres on the idea of balance and eradicating greed. ‘Fika’ is the act of being in the present moment, sitting down for a break during the day for coffee and cake with family and friends.
These concepts form a thoughtful philosophy that can be incorporated into the idea of slow travel. They feed into many aspects of life in the city, from transport running on renewable energy, to using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in restaurants.
For those visiting the city, it is the idea of being socially aware and tapping into eco-consciousness that is felt across Gothenburg and the archipelago. Though a vibrant and bustling city, Gothenburg applies these ideas to its developments, and there is no doubt that the way of life out in the archipelago is one of presence and taking ‘just the right amount’, in a measured manner.
Home to a rich and vibrant culture both on the mainland and out in the archipelago, Gothenburg's diverse eco-efficiency, city grit and tranquil coastal charm must be seen to be believed.